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Macron condemns Russian invasion of Ukraine and summons defence council

French President Emmanuel Macron has lamented the Russian invasion of Ukraine and called for an immediate halt to military operations.

Ukrainian security personnel inspect the remains of a shell dropped in Kyiv on Thursday.
Ukrainian security personnel inspect the remains of a shell dropped in Kyiv on Thursday. (Photo by Sergei Supinsky / AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday strongly condemned Russia’s military action against Ukraine and vowed that Paris would work with allies to try to end the conflict.

“Russia must immediately put an end to its military operations,” Macron wrote on Twitter, saying Russia had made the decision to “wage war” on Ukraine.

“France stands in solidarity with Ukraine. It stands by Ukrainians and is working with its partners and allies to end the war,” he added.

The French President has since summoned the defence council and spoken with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, over the phone. 

Macron had repeatedly spoken to President Vladimir Putin seeking a diplomatic solution to the standoff but to no avail.

After frenetic telephone talks at the weekend, he has not spoken to the Russian leader since Putin on Monday recognised two Ukrainian breakaway regions as independent.

Before Putin announced the “special military operation” in the early hours of Thursday, Macron spoke to Zelensky late Wednesday, emphasising the importance of Ukraine‘s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Elysee said.

He vowed that France would continue to help Ukraine financially and economically and supply “defensive equipment,” the French presidency said in a statement.

Support for Ukraine will be on the agenda at the emergency summit in Brussels late Thursday.

The summit follows the EU’s adoption of sanctions against Russia for declaring pro-Moscow separatist regions of Ukraine to be independent and mandating military forces to go into them.

Overnight, the Kremlin said the heads of eastern Ukraine’s rebel republics had asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for “help” to “repel aggression” from the Ukrainian army.

The French government has called on all of its citizens in the country to return to France. 

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IMMIGRATION

French police clear Channel migrant camps after violence leaves one dead

Police dismantled a camp housing hundreds of migrants near Dunkirk in northern France on Wednesday after one person was killed and three wounded in suspected score-settling between smugglers, authorities said.

French police clear Channel migrant camps after violence leaves one dead

Around 500 people, mainly Iraqi Kurds, had been living at the wooded site in Loon-Plage, near a canal that often serves as a key launching point for boats hoping to cross the English Channel for Britain.

Buses stood by to bring the migrants to shelters, but most left instead on foot, carrying what belongings they could.

On Monday night, one migrant was shot and killed and another wounded by what volunteer aid workers described as machine gun fire, the day after two others were also shot and wounded, one seriously.

Ammunition from “weapons of war” were found, Dunkirk’s state prosecutor Sebastian Pieve had told AFP on Tuesday, and a clash between rival smuggling groups was “a theory, but it’s not easy to establish”.

“But it’s certain that human trafficking is the backdrop to this,” he said.

Dawan, a 32-year-old Kurd, would say only “mafia, mafia” when asked by AFP about the shootings.

He said he had recently paid €1,600 to a smuggler who said he would get him to England after spending five months in France, but the man disappeared the next day.

Claire Millot of the Salam migrant aid group said most volunteer associations had quit operating at Loon-Plage out of security fears, adding that Africans and other nationalities had recently been seen in an area usually occupied mainly by Kurds.

More than 7,000 migrants have managed to cross the busy shipping lane and reach the British coast since January, after the number of arrivals tripled to over 28,000 last year — which saw at least 30 migrants die while trying.

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